Authors: Jessica Coulter Smith
Tags: #BIN 07483-02413
Jessica Coulter Smith
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2015 Jessica Coulter Smith
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Jessica Coulter Smith
Avelyn’s life was turned upside down the day she lost her baby and realized her husband was a monster who couldn’t be redeemed. Now that she’s divorced and having to make it on her own, she knows she needs to make some major changes in her life. But when she enters the Terran Station in Las Vegas in search of a job, the last thing she expects is to find her arms full of a screaming alien baby, and faced with a very flustered daddy.
Thrace adopted sweet Lily to spare her from the Intergalactic Adoption Agency. Now that he’s become a doting daddy overnight, he’s feeling a bit overwhelmed. When Avelyn is dropped into his lap, he’s more than grateful. A nanny is just what he needs!
There’s only one problem. When Thrace looks at Avelyn, he doesn’t see a caretaker for his daughter. He sees a vibrant, desirable woman who sets his blood on fire.
What’s an alien daddy to do when what he wants most is to have the nanny in his bed?
To my husband, who always tells me “Yes, you can,” even when I’m saying “No, I can’t…” He has believed in me from the beginning and continues to push me to try new things, write more words, and do what makes me happy. He’s my entire world, and I can’t imagine living a single day without him by my side.
Avelyn Murray clutched at her purse strap as she made her way through the Terran station of the Las Vegas strip. She was ready for a new chapter in her life, even if she wasn’t sure what it would be. She was torn between looking for a job at the station and signing up for the bride program. It wasn’t the first time it had crossed her mind, but it was the first time she’d found the courage to actually enter the station to put her plan in motion.
As she approached the reception desk, she argued with herself over which to ask for -- the employment station or the bride application counter. She’d only been divorced for six months, so Avelyn wasn’t entirely certain she was ready for another relationship, even though she’d heard the Terrans made wonderful husbands. They were everything her ex was not, but the thought of signing her life over to another male made her a little nervous. Although, if the right male came along…
Avelyn waited in line to speak with the receptionist. She looked around, taking everything in. Aliens of all races rushed around, and reminded her that if she signed up for the bride program, it wouldn’t just be Terrans who would be interested. In the last month, they had opened the program up to other races. Males of all types wandered through the station, some openly admiring her, and others bustling by without even realizing she was there. Maybe the bride program wasn’t for her after all. Besides, she’d heard that having children was a requirement, and she wouldn’t pass that test.
When it was her turn to speak with the receptionist, she smiled and waited for the woman to acknowledge her. It took a few minutes before the phone stopped ringing and the woman looked up.
“May I help you?” the receptionist asked.
“I wondered if the Terran station might be hiring humans? I’m looking for a job.”
“I’m not privy to any openings for human females, but you can certainly ask the employment desk. It’s through that archway,” she said, pointing slightly behind her and to the right. “When you reach the next open area like this one, you’ll see an employment sign on the far right wall. They’ll be able to tell you if there are any openings and what you’ll need to do in order to apply.”
Avelyn smiled at her once more and then hurried toward the archway. The hallway was brightly lit and very long. As she entered the next large room, the sound hit her and nearly knocked her off her feet. Somewhere in the midst of loud voices, a baby wailed. When it seemed that no one was going to quiet the poor child, Avelyn went in search of her, or him. What if it was a small child and not a baby? What if they were lost or hurt?
She pushed her way through the crowd and came to a stop in front of a large Terran warrior holding a squalling red baby. She’d never seen a baby quite like this one, with ruby red skin, sharp fangs, and coal black hair. But regardless of how the child looked, she was obviously in distress. The man holding her looked completely inept and her heart went out to him. He fumbled with the child making shushing noises and bouncing her in his arms.
Avelyn bit her lip and wondered if he would welcome her help, or feel insulted that she thought he couldn’t handle the baby. She finally took a step closer and held her hands out.
“Mind if I try?” she asked.
He looked momentarily startled, hesitated a few seconds, and then handed her the baby.
“Her name is Lily,” he said.
Avelyn held the baby closer and cooed at her. “Aren’t you a pretty girl? What has Miss Lily so upset?”
The baby’s cries stuttered and then stopped as she sucked in huge snotty breaths and looked up at Avelyn. She babbled at Avelyn and reached out to place her small, chubby hand against Avelyn’s cheek.
“Well, aren’t you a sweetheart?” Avelyn smiled at the girl with the pink bow in her hair.
“She likes you,” the male said. “I sometimes think she doesn’t like me very much. But then, Lily doesn’t seem to like most people. The daycare where I work refuses to keep her because she screams the entire time she’s there.”
“What about hiring a nanny?” Avelyn asked and winced as the baby tugged on a strand of her hair. “You could hire someone to live with you and take care of Lily in your home.”
“Who would accept such an offer from a Terran male? They would expect to become my bride, would they not? And how can I even think of getting into a relationship with someone when Lily clearly needs more from me than I’m able to give already?”
Avelyn looked at the sweet baby girl in her arms and then up at the Terran male. “I would.”
“You would be willing to move to live with Lily and me?”
“Move?” She smiled. “You mean into your home?”
“No. I live near the station in Kentucky outside of Lexington. I merely came here in search of Lily’s mother.”
“Did you find her?”
The male nodded. “She signed away her rights to Lily. I’ve already adopted her, so I never have to worry about someone trying to take her away from me. Her father abandoned her before she was born and her mother left her at the station where I work with a note clipped to her diaper bag.”
Avelyn brushed her cheek against the baby’s soft curls. “I can’t imagine anyone giving up their baby.”
Tears misted her eyes as she thought about the child she’d lost. If things had gone a little differently, she’d be holding her own baby in her arms at this very moment. Of course, she’d also still be married to her abusive asshole of an ex-husband, and that would be truly horrifying. She couldn’t imagine letting that monster anywhere near a child, but if she’d kept the baby, she had planned to stay with him. Now she realized just how foolish that was. The moment she’d found out she was pregnant, she should have packed a bag and taken off.
“It makes you sad to move elsewhere?” the alien asked, mistaking her tears.
“No. Moving away is actually a really good idea. I wanted a fresh start, and I can’t think of a better way to do it. I don’t have much to pack. When would we leave? Do you need me to fill out an application or complete a background check or something?”
He frowned. “I hadn’t really thought about it. I’ve never hired a nanny before. I’ve only been Lily’s father for a few short months. Let’s go to the employment desk and see what they recommend. I want to make sure I do this the correct way so no one questions why you’re staying with me.”
“I’ll follow you. Do you mind if I carry Lily?”
A smile spread across his face, making Avelyn go weak in the knees. Good lord, but the man was fine! He’d been handsome before, but now he was downright sexy. How he wasn’t already mated to someone, she couldn’t imagine. He seemed to truly care for his wee daughter, and from what she’d seen so far, he was a genuinely nice male. What woman wouldn’t want him?
“You may carry Lily.”
He led the way across the room to the employment station. At the desk, a Terran male looked up to greet them.
“How may I help you, Thrace?” the alien asked.
Thrace. So that was his name. She hadn’t realized until just then that they had never introduced themselves, and here he was about to hire her. How crazy was that?
“I’d like to hire a nanny. I want this woman specifically,” Thrace said. “What do we need to do?”
“Well, she’ll need to complete some forms and sign a waiver for a background check, and then it will take around a week to process everything.”
Thrace narrowed his eyes. “I need it done before morning. I’m due back home tomorrow and the jet leaves at nine o’clock. Do whatever you have to in order for her to be approved for work by that time.”
The Terran frowned at Thrace. “It isn’t that simple. Even after she’s been vetted, there’s still the matter of signing an employment contract. That means agreeing on a salary and negotiating benefits. You can’t just pick up a random woman and decide to hire her.”
“And yet if I wanted a bride, I bet your ass would be moving faster than this.”
Avelyn watched them go back and forth and wondered what she could do to help things along. The longer they argued, the less likely she would be hired. If Thrace pissed off the Terran in charge of this process, no way would she be getting on that jet with him in the morning. And not only did she need this opportunity, she really wanted to help take care of the little girl in her arms. Already she could feel a bond forming between them.
Lily cooed up at her and yanked on her hair again. Avelyn smiled down at the baby and talked to her softly while the two Terran males discussed the issue of her employment. Hell, if it was going to be this much trouble, she’d work for free until they reached his home station and could get things arranged there. Maybe she should tell him that?
“What if I worked for free until we reach your home?” she asked Thrace. “I mean, I’d need my travel covered, and a hotel room once we reach our destination, but I wouldn’t charge you for my time with Lily until you’re able to get things settled with your home station. Would that work?”
Thrace smiled. “That would work nicely. I’ll keep track of how much time you work between now and then so I can pay you accordingly once all of the forms have been completed and the contract signed.”
Avelyn smiled. “Then I guess all that’s left is to hand this precious bundle off to you so I can go home and pack. Where do you want to meet in the morning?”